From trauma to PTSD: Beliefs about sensations, symptoms, and mental illness

Michele Spoont, Nina A Sayer, Greta Friedemann-Sanchez, Louise E. Parker, Maureen M Nelson, Christine Chiros

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Despite the ongoing debate about its legitimacy as a diagnostic entity, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continues to be the prevailing model for posttrauma suffering in Western societies. In this article, we examine how U.S. veterans came to conceptualize their posttrauma suffering as reflecting the mental disorder of PTSD. We describe the criteria veterans used to evaluate the potential clinical importance of their posttrauma reactions, and the process by which they came to label these reactions as PTSD. Difficulties that veterans experienced in evaluating their posttrauma reactions and in labeling them as PTSD mirror issues that have been raised about the diagnosis of PTSD in the professional literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1456-1465
Number of pages10
JournalQualitative Health Research
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2009


  • Experiences
  • Illness and disease
  • Mental health and illness
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Trauma


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